Intermittent fasting has to be one of the hottest wellness topics du jour – and for good reason: it appears to be very good for you! That’s according to numerous scientific studies about how the body’s metabolism processes food – and how it responds when it is deprived of food. Whilst it is right to view the latest diet fads with suspicion (how many trendy diets are discarded after just a few days or weeks?), fasting is as old as humanity and there are a myriad ways to go about it. Here are just a few of the documented benefits of fasting, including different approaches to incorporating fasting into your weekly or monthly routine…
1. Simplicity and Flexibility
Intermittent fasting is relatively easy to adopt and you can easily tailor it to fit your particular lifestyle. There are several methods to choose from, such as the 16/8 method (16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating) or the 5:2 approach (eating normally for five days and restricting calories for two non-consecutive days). You can also incorporate more intensive methodologies such as 24/48/72 hour water fast – though we recommend getting expert advice from a medical practitioner before undertaking more intensive fasts like these.
2. Improved Brain Function
Intermittent fasting can also have positive effects on brain health. Studies suggest that it may enhance cognitive function, boost memory, and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The fasting process triggers the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports brain health.
3. Metabolic Benefits & Weight Loss
People embrace intermittent fasting to assist in weight loss. By restricting your eating window, the body has more time to burn stored fat for energy. Additionally, intermittent fasting can improve insulin sensitivity, leading to better blood sugar control and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. It should always be remembered, however, that fasting practices can be problematic for those with eating disorders.
4. Energy Enhancement
Contrary to the widely held belief that fasting leads to fatigue, many people experience increased energy levels during fasting periods. In fact, with stabilised blood sugar and improved fat metabolism, the body becomes more efficient at utilising energy.
5. Heart Health
Intermittent fasting may contribute to a healthier heart by reducing risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can improve various markers of cardiovascular health, ultimately reducing the risk of heart disease.
6. Cellular Repair and Longevity
During fasting periods, the body initiates a process called autophagy, which is essentially the removal of damaged cells and cellular components. Evidence suggests that this ‘cellular cleansing’ can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote longevity.